WEB SITE MARKETING BASICS

By Robert Farris

We all know it. We all do it. Our customers know it too. We all use the power of the Internet search engines to make our life easier. Whenever a typical web user needs to find something on the Internet, that person will almost always go to one of the top search engines (i.e. Infoseek, Alta Vista, Hot Bot, Excite, etc) and run a search. Then he or she usually only look at the first 30 search results returned, hardly every looking beyond that. If nothing looks relevant, they will run another search using a variation of the keywords they used on the first search. If they still find nothing of interest, they may switch to a different search engine and repeat the process. 

Believe or not, this is the typical web behavior of at least 90% of the 150 million Internet users. The question is: Does your mortgage web site capitalize on this Internet behavior to market itself and originate more loans? Can your web site even be found in the first 30 search engine results?

For almost all mortgage sites, answer is no. Very few mortgage web sites capitalize on this powerful way of Internet marketing. Where else can you market your mortgage services to millions of Internet users? Where else can you get highly targeted customers, that are actually "looking" right now for your mortgage services? 

This is an extremely profitable way of marketing; to use the power of the internet to your advantage. Highly targeted customers are coming to your web site because they want to... they have an immediate need. Internet search engine positioning will help effectively market and promote your mortgage services to millions of people.

COMMON WEB SITE MARKETING PROBLEMS

A common web site question problem I receive from mortgage clients is, "Our company has spent xx dollars to design and submit our web site to the search engines. We really expected to start getting more Internet business, but we haven't. What are we doing wrong?" 

Well, just because a web site is submitted to the search engines doesn't mean it is going to be ranked or even found. We all know the computer adage, "Garbage in, garbage out." If you submit a site, poorly designed for search engine relevancy, the only thing you are doing is ensuring you will be listed near the bottom of the search engines. There is no magic in submitting your site to the engines; the magic is in the way your web site is structurally designed; the way your source code is presented to harness the power of the internet.

Just "showing up" on the Internet with your corporate web site doesn't translate to being successful. 

Many mortgage companies mistakenly believe that simply having a web site will yield additional business. They believe the old adage, "Build it, and they shall come." 

This is simply not true on the Internet, no more than it is in the real world. Your company has to properly market themselves in this new Internet age. A productive Internet presence requires several key elements. If any are missing or deficient, your company will not receive many loan originations from the Internet.

Before we continue, let's review how people actually find your mortgage web site…

SEARCH ENGINES - THE 'YELLOW PAGES' OF THE INTERNET 

Once an Internet design company has created your web site, your company needs a method to communicate what mortgage services you have to offer. This is where search engines come into play. Search engines are the yellow pages of the Internet (there are 8-10 major engines and 100's of smaller engines). What makes search engines powerful is that Internet users can go to the search engine site, type in a few key words, and the search engine will produce a list of web pages that most closely match the keywords searched -- hopefully your web site. Internet statistics reveal that 86% of customers primarily find information through the use of search engines and directories (not annoying banner ads).

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